These days, it's practically a given your job search will begin online. However, finding success with an online job search isn't as easy as posting your resume and waiting for the job interview requests to show up in your inbox. Most other candidates are firing up their browsers and trolling the job boards as well. That means the competition is tight, and attracting a hiring manager’s attention can be a challenge.
Oh, and there's social media, too. More and more companies are taking advantage of the "who-you-know" factor by posting job openings on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
So how can you corner the Internet job market, catch the eyes of employers and find the position that's right for you? Here are five tips for running a successful online job search:
1. Don’t waste time
Everything's going mobile these days, including the online job search. You can even download apps for job search engines like Indeed and SimplyHired. That means you can now receive job alerts and apply even if your laptop's not handy. This speedy access results in higher competition, so if you see a job you really want, apply within the first two or three days of posting.
2. Use keywords
Some organizations employ software (sometimes called applicant tracking systems) to match words in your application materials with words in the job posting. Using the right keywords can pull your application to the top.
Don't overdo it, though. At some point, human eyes will review your application, and you don’t want your resume to be discarded because you were caught keyword stuffing. Also (and this should go without saying), the words you use should accurately describe your skills and experience.
3. Get linked in
LinkedIn is becoming an important tool in the online job search because it functions more or less like a virtual resume. But it's not just for advertising your credentials. Many employers post job openings on their company profiles, so follow organizations you’re interested in. There's also a job search tab on LinkedIn for local jobs and openings at organizations affiliated with your connections. If you see one you're interested in, your network might be a source for more information or even a referral.
4. Like and tweet
Facebook and Twitter aren't just for sharing cat videos anymore. Organizations scout applicants' profiles to gain more insight into their personalities. Control who can tag you in photos, avoid posting photos of wild nights out or goofing off at work and be mindful when commenting on sensitive or controversial issues. You never know which side of the fence a potential employer is on.
Companies also use social media to broadcast internal openings. As part of your online job search, you should like, comment, reply and retweet to catch the eye of potential employers and show them you're interested in what they do. Also, follow their pages so you're among the first to know about job openings.
5. Reach out to a staffing agency
Staffing specialists have extensive networks and expertise in finding jobs that dovetail with your skill set and personality. An agency that specializes in your industry will often maintain its own job board, which could include exclusive openings. Read the staffing firm's blog, follow their LinkedIn profile and Twitter feed and like their Facebook page. Chances are the firm is sharing great info about hiring trends and the employment market.
Another great way to stand out is to connect with individual recruiters through their social media profiles. The more technologically savvy agencies offer quick and easy online applications and skills evaluations so you can become eligible for placement right away.
Now put these tips to good use by incorporating them into your online job search. When combined with in-person networking and a strong relationship with a reputable recruiting professional, your hunt is more likely to lead to a position that's right for you.